polling averages

A Clown Car Presentation: Insurevirentaderble

Detail of 'Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal' by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015.

Never read too much into any one poll, but the lede from Associated Press is nonetheless troubling:

Republican voters view Donald Trump as their strongest general election candidate, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that highlights the sharp contrast between the party’s voters and its top professionals regarding the billionaire businessman’s ultimate political strength.

But wait, there’s more:

Seven in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters say Trump could win in November 2016 if he is nominated, and that’s the most who say so of any candidate. By comparison, 6 in 10 say the same for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who, like Trump, has tapped into the powerful wave of antiestablishment anger defining the early phases of the 2016 contest.

And then there is the reality check: “Trump and Carson are considered among the least electable general election candidates by the Republican Party’s professionals, those who are in the business of helping candidates run campaigns and win elections”, explain Steve Peoples and Emily Swanson, and in truth one need not be a political professional to figure that out. Still, though, how superstitious do we really wish to be?

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The Republican Threshold

Aggregate poll averages from RealClearPolitics, as of 14 June 2015.

Steve Benen raises an interesting point:

We’re nearly through the initial phase of the presidential campaign – we know who’s running, who’s well positioned to compete, and roughly what the candidates’ platforms are going to look like. If this were a literal race, the runners have all effectively taken their place in the starting blocks. The next phrase tends to get a little … livelier.

On ABC yesterday morning, “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos said, in reference to some of the shots across the candidates’ bows, “The gloves are off, I can see that right now.” I think that’s probably a little premature, but there appears to be one Republican presidential hopeful who’s more eager than most to throw some jabs.

As political pugilism goes, all of these jabs are pretty mild, and we’re still months away from televised attack ads.

But let this be a reminder to campaign observers: one of the under-appreciated byproducts of a crowded Republican field is the inevitable crossfire. These GOP candidates have spent the last few months complaining about President Obama and Hillary Clinton, but we’re slowly reaching the point at which they start turning on one another – they have primary rivals to dispatch before they can prepare in earnest for the general election.

We may have reached a threshold, to be certain. But this is happening for a reason. With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie mere days away, the field is ready to shift. As Mr. Christie begins jabbing at his soon to be opponents, so also is Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin aiming at or near his fellow Republicans. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced today, and that creates a new dynamic that bears considering.

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